[plt-scheme] Interested in a Scheme-based Operating System?

From: Rohan Nicholls (rohan.nicholls at answerweb.nl)
Date: Thu Sep 25 08:05:16 EDT 2003

Just wondering if anything is happening with this, seems to have gone very


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Grant Miner [mailto:mine0057 at mrs.umn.edu]
> Sent: Friday, September 12, 2003 12:13 AM
> To: PLT Scheme discussion list
> Cc: Scsh Mailing List
> Subject: [plt-scheme] Interested in a Scheme-based Operating System?
>   For list-related administrative tasks:
>   http://list.cs.brown.edu/mailman/listinfo/plt-scheme
> Would anyone be interested in creating a free operating system based 
> exclusively on programs written in scheme (low level stuff still in 
> C/assembler of course), and that combines the best features 
> of Plan 9, 
> BeOS, Linux, and mac/windows?  Would you like to have a potentially 
> widley-used OS that showcases the power of functional 
> languages?  Would 
> you like an OS where scheme is the preferred programming language?
> This is my vision.  Scheme and plt-scheme are excellent languages 
> because they're functional, have continuations, macros, tail 
> calls, and 
> an excellent module system.  I probably don't need to explain 
> scheme's 
> merits here ;)
> Imagine having scheme as _the_ high-level programming language for an 
> operating system.  All libraries would be usable from scheme, 
> instead of 
> some you can use from Python and others you can use from 
> Perl.  Ideally, 
> only software written in scheme/c would be included in the 
> distribution, 
> so that we have tight integration, its easy to pick up different 
> projects, the system and libraries are kept small, and people are 
> encouraged to use scheme.  (Nobody prevents you from installing other 
> programming tools and languages, of course.  But we ensure that there 
> are always bindings for the schemes.)
> I often hear the phrase "use the right tool for the job."  
> Usually what 
> that means is there is a excellent library usable from a certain 
> programming language, and it's faster to learn the new language and 
> library than port the library to your programming language.  
> After using 
> C++ and Java, Python, Perl and friends, I've concluded that these 
> languages lack much of the power of scheme.  99% of the time, 
> the right 
> tool for the job would be lisp, if it were easy to use the others' 
> libraries.
> If you like the sound of an experimental Linux distribution, 
> incorporating the filing features of Plan 9 and BeOS (I think using 
> Linux kernel would be good, for compatibility with a wide range of 
> hardware, Reiser4, and other features.), based on PLT-Scheme 
> and scsh, 
> and easy to configure, reply to the thread, and we can get a mailing 
> list/wiki going.

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